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WIS, WWA | Instagram vs. Reality

What I Spent

Before we get to the spending…you know how people on Instagram do those Instagram vs Reality side-by-sizes, showing how easy it is to look good just by posing?

Well, here is the Instagram level version of some fried chicken I made (SLR photo):

Japanese fried chicken

And here’s a less glamorous version (a phone photo):

fried chicken strips

Same food, different photos.

So, just a reminder not to compare the food you put on the table every night to what you see on food blogs. If you had a food photographer documenting what you make, your dinners would probably look pretty darn attractive.

On to the spending!

First, I dropped $111 at Aldi.

And then I needed some things at a non-Aldi store, and I spent $90 there.

That puts me at $201 for the week. But, since I didn’t spent much the first week of September, I’m still on track for $150/week for September. 

September Grocery Spending

Week 1: $99

Week 2: $155

Week 3: $201

What We Ate


I had virtual book club, so we did not do our usual date night. Instead, we got takeout subs for all of us from Firehouse.

I always put in my phone number for the rewards, and now I have enough points for a free medium sub next time.


Parker House rolls before baking

I tried two new recipes from a Cook’s Illustrated issue:

  • Japanese fried chicken (what you saw at the top of this post)
  • Parker house rolls

Parker House rolls after baking


The two really do not go together at all, but hey, no one here cared.

The fried chicken was really good, and not too messy or difficult, as fried chicken goes. I liked that it called for chicken thighs instead of breasts; cheaper and also easier to not dry out.


I tried a Cook’s Country recipe for spaghetti carbonara, and I don’t know quite what I did wrong, but I had trouble with the eggs cooking too fast. They’re supposed to make a creamy sauce, cooked just by the heat of the pasta, but my eggs clumped up.

Also, I have decided that I just prefer the taste of regular bacon over pancetta. Pancetta doesn’t taste as good to me, and it costs more anyway.

So, if I try this again, I will cool the spaghetti a bit first, and I will use bacon in place of pancetta.


I did breakfast for dinner because I had some buttermilk to use up. 

So, I made buttermilk waffles topped with whipped cream and fresh peaches from my box of bruised peaches.

waffles with berries and whipped cream

not peaches, but this will work for illustrative purposes

In case you were as slow to realize this as me: whipped cream is actually a lower-sugar alternative to syrup. And it feels more decadent to me.

Whipped cream and fruit trump butter and syrup for me every time. And if it’s less sugar, well, even better!


I grilled chicken sausages, which we ate on toasted buns.

grilled sausages

For sides, we had a green salad and some potato chips.


I tried a recipe from the latest Cook’s Country for chili over rice, topped with cilantro-lime crema. 

This was easy, tasty, and I will definitely add it to my rotation.


Well. My new oven is installed, so maybe I will give it a test run and see how it does with pizza! 

homemade pepperoni pizza

Here’s how I make my pizza.

What did you eat for dinner this week? 


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Holly Bertram

Saturday 26th of September 2020

Hi there! I've been a reader here for a while and this is one of my first times to comment. :) I decided to subscribe to Cook's Country because the recipes you make from the magazine look so good. Guess what I made last week? Spaghetti Carbonara....and my "sauce" clumped up too. I even tempered the eggs with some hot pasta water, just as the recipe recommended. We shared it with friends and they loved it!! Also, yay for a new oven and the tips that you can respond to IG comments on the desktop...IG is such a time-suck for me, too! Keep up the good work! Love, love your blog!

MB in MN

Sunday 20th of September 2020

Our grocery bill is alarming, even with the garden and generous friends. I am grateful for delicious, plentiful food. This week we enjoyed eating:

- Vegan reuben sandwiches - Veggie lasagna - Stuffed portobello mushrooms - Baked potatoes and green beans - Cream of spinach soup - Wild rice salsa salad - Leftovers!


Sunday 20th of September 2020

I recently tried a carbonara recipe for the first time and decided that I like chicken just fine with broth, onions and bacon, but the sauce was way too rich and too much work!

Darlene H

Sunday 20th of September 2020

Congratulations on the new stove!!!


Sunday 20th of September 2020

Thank you, thank you! I am so happy to not have broken glass on my stove anymore.


Saturday 19th of September 2020

As far as spaghetti carbonara, I am not sure what the Cooks recipe says to do, but I always "temper" the eggs by adding increasing amounts of hot water to the, to bring up the temperature without scrambling them, before I add them to the pasta...

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